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Reissue Theory: Duran Duran, “Duran Duran (The Wedding Album): 20th Anniversary Edition”

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Duran Duran (The Wedding Album)

Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we focus on notable albums and the reissues they could someday see. Today, two decades after its release, we imagine an expanded edition of an album that sent an iconic ’80s band flying into the new decade – and back toward the top of the charts.

The bizarre narrative that seems to plague pop music is that, with each new decade, the trends of the last 10 years should be relegated to the past as soon as possible. The psychedelic sounds of the ’60s weren’t immediately swept away in the ’70s, but acts had to adapt considerably, lest they be drowned out by harder-edged rock, glam, disco and eventually punk rock. Those rawer styles (and even – or especially – disco) would find themselves out in the cold come the ’80s, a decade of synthesizer-based New Wave and big-haired metal.

Ironically, the secret to Duran Duran’s monolithic success in the 1980s hinged on their ability to take several trends that peaked the decade before and put a new spin on them, namely the cleanly-mixed, bottom-heavy disco overtones of groups like CHIC and the minimalist, keyboard-assisted rock approach of Roxy Music. Add a dollop of modern sensibility (namely a focus on physical appearance, served to perfection in scores of music videos for the nascent MTV), and it’s no surprise even Rolling Stone gave in to their charms, dubbing them “The Fab Five.”

That didn’t make Duran’s journey through a decade they largely owned any easier, though. By 1986, the quintet was reduced to a trio – vocalist Simon Le Bon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes and bassist John Taylor – and struggling to create music that was both artistically satisfying and commercially successful. (The criminally underrated Notorious (1986) and Big Thing (1988) did have several hit singles, including Notorious‘ title track and the latter album’s Chicago house-call “I Don’t Want Your Love.”)

Though Duran was anxious to start the decade off right – going so far as to hire touring guitarist Warren Cuccurullo (formerly of Frank Zappa’s band and Missing Persons) and touring drummer Sterling Campbell to the lineup, creating another five-piece outfit – they were tripped up by not only their inability but anyone’s inability to know which direction to move. Neither grunge nor hi-NRG dance nor Britpop had set in as musical trends, and the lack of general musical direction was twice as harmful to bands struggling to find their footing in the first place.

Whatever the cause for Duran Duran, 1990’s Liberty failed to post any hit singles, and the band’s decision to forego a tour did them no favors, either. Campbell would drift out of the lineup, and even Taylor – still battling drug addiction and testing out a marriage with model Amanda de Cadenet, who was carrying his first child – debated exiting the band.

The secret to their impending second wind was a most unexpected one, but the rewards were rich indeed. We tell that story – and imagine a reissue to celebrate that era – after the jump!

Ultimately, the one man to right the Duran ship was the only non-original member: Warren Cuccurullo, who’d been a familiar presence to Duranies since some last-minute subbing for exiting guitarist Andy Taylor on Notorious. At his offering, Duran camped out in the guitarist’s home studio in Battersea, aptly named Privacy; shielded from the press or the hand-wringing of executives at EMI, they were free to get creative with these sessions.

And create they did. Rather than lean on a new session drummer, Duran and producer John Jones used a mix of live and artificial percussion to best effect. Aided by a loop from The Soul Searchers’ classic breakbeat record “Ashley’s Roachclip” (which gained plenty of traction in the late ’80s with acts like Eric B. & Rakim and Milli Vanilli) and a liquid guitar riff repurposed from “First Impression” from the band’s previous LP Liberty, “Come Undone” was a fine example of where Duran were going with the new record, at once familiar to longtime fans but modern enough to attract new listeners. They weren’t afraid to experiment, though; killer lead track “Too Much Information” saw Duran fly in the face of their New Romantic image, singing lyrics about media control (“Destroyed by MTV/I hate to bite the hand that feeds me”) over an insistent acoustic guitar riff. Elsewhere, “Breath After Breath” featured lush keyboards from Nick Rhodes and a countermelody sung in Portuguese (note: thanks to the many Duranies who corrected us on this!) by Milton Nascimiento, while closing tracks like “Shelter,” “To Whom It May Concern” (a middle finger to record company middle management) and “Sin of the City” saw the band hinting at what a more confident, focused version of Liberty might have sounded like, with fiery riffs and danceable rhythms.

Ordinary WorldThe album’s undisputed masterpiece of The Wedding Album (officially self-titled, it was differentiated from their 1981 debut by the album sleeve, which features pictures of each band member’s parents in holy matrimony) was “Ordinary World,” a heartrending, uplifting ballad featuring a delicate acoustic hook from Cuccurullo and impassioned vocals and lyrics from Simon Le Bon. (Le Bon’s typically cryptic meditation on love and loss was inspired by the death of old friend David Miles, who also inspired 1988’s “Do You Believe in Shame” and 1997’s “Out of My Mind.”)

But even the band’s label didn’t know what to make of what they had, until a Florida radio station played the song in the fall of 1992. Demand for the tune was tremendous, to the point where Capitol moved the single’s release up in the States; it peaked at No. 3, the band’s highest chart placement since “Notorious” peaked at No. 2 in 1986.

Happily, the follow-up release of “Come Undone” in the spring of 1993 proved the band wasn’t merely blessed by a rogue wave of nostalgia; it peaked at No. 7. What followed was a whirlwind year for the band: several years of world touring featuring dramatic new arrangements (many songs treated with acoustic or orchestral stylings), band milestones (a taping on the popular MTV Unplugged saw Duran assert the quality of songs both new and old in an intimate setting) and personal setbacks (Le Bon lost his voice toward the latter half of the tour, prompting a wave of rescheduled dates).

Even though the rest of the decade would be a trial for Duran Duran – Taylor would leave the band in the late ’90s to treat his addictions, and the less said about 1995’s covers record Thank You, the better – they were able to mine their deep reserves of pop songcraft and establish them not only to new generations but their own loyal fan base, a skill they’ve utilized more than once in the two decades since.

Duran 93

Our pipe-dream deluxe edition of The Wedding Album follows the same thread as EMI’s lavish 2CD/1DVD editions of their studio albums issued in 2009 and 2010. Bonus material was surprisingly rich for a band that was not the label’s prime focus at the time. (Indeed, early singles of “Ordinary World” came packed with the band’s earlier A-sides, as if to remind prospective new fans that this was a band with a lengthy, successful career!) Three non-LP cuts were included on singles and import versions of the album; we’ve also added a well-known, relatively complete outtake that’s been bootlegged but never formally released.

On Disc 2, we’ve tried to avoid overlap with The Singles 1986-1995 box set (which did not have any of the aforementioned non-album cuts), opting for the best remixes that did not make that set. This includes U.S.-only mixes or ones found on the Strange Behaviour remix compilation alongside some of the best ones you might be more familiar with.

The DVD portion is particularly ripe for visual treasures. In addition to all four promo videos (only two of which are readily available on DVD) and select live television footage, we’ve also included two major highlights of the Duran videography. One is Extraordinary World, a 1994 videocassette release that chronicles the evolution of Duran Duran up to that point. The other, of course, would be the band’s performance on MTV Unplugged. Recorded around the same time, on the same set, as Nirvana’s iconic performance, Duran runs through several dramatically rearranged numbers with aplomb. Our theoretical edition would include the full set, not just the edited 30-minute aired program.

Then, in the interest of emulating EMI’s release plans for every other Duran reissue, we’ve included a theoretical digital live extra: on May 15, 1993, the band did an in-store performance at Tower Records in Los Angeles. Three of those tracks were released as both non-LP B-sides and on a promotional cassette, but the full show has yet to see the light of day. Perhaps it would make most sense alongside a reissue of this beloved album?

Sound off below with your Duran memories, and thoughts on this special time in the band’s history!

Duran Duran, Duran Duran (The Wedding Album): 20th Anniversary Edition (Capitol/EMI)

Disc 1: Original LP (released as Parlophone/Capitol 0777 7 98876 2 0, 1993)

  1. Too Much Information
  2. Ordinary World
  3. Drowning Man
  4. Love Voodoo
  5. Shotgun
  6. Come Undone
  7. Breath After Breath
  8. UMF
  9. Femme Fatale
  10. None of the Above
  11. Shelter
  12. To Whom It May Concern
  13. Sin of the City

Disc 2: Bonus material

  1. Falling Angel (B-side to “Come Undone” – Capitol CD C2 0777 7 15981 2 8 (U.S.), 1993)
  2. Stop Dead (B-side to “Come Undone” – Capitol CD C2 0777 7 15969 2 6 (U.S.), 1993)
  3. Time for Temptation (B-side to “Come Undone” – Capitol cassette 4KM 0777 7 44918 4 6 (U.S.), 1993)
  4. Matter of Fact *
  5. Ordinary World (Single Version) (single A-side – Parlophone DD 16, 1993)
  6. Come Undone (US Remix) (single A-side – Capitol CD C2 0777 7 15981 2 8 (U.S.), 1993)
  7. Too Much Information (Unplugged Remix) (from promo CD single – Capitol DPRO-79256 (U.S.), 1993)
  8. Come Undone (Come Undub) (12″ promo B-side – Parlophone 12 DDDJ 17, 1993)
  9. Love Voodoo (Sidney St. 12″ Mix) (from Strange Behaviour – EMI 7243 4 93972 2 4, 1993)
  10. Ordinary World (Acoustic) (single B-side – Capitol cassette 7 44908 4 (U.S.), 1993)
  11. Too Much Information (12″ Jellybean Mix) (from Strange Behaviour – EMI 7243 4 93972 2 4, 1993)
  12. Come Undone (TV Synth Strings) *
  13. None of the Above (Drizabone 12″ Mix) (from Japanese CD single – EMI TODP-2452, 1994)
  14. Drowning Man (D:Ream Mix) (12″ B-side to “Too Much Information” – Parlophone 12 DD 18, 1993)
  15. Come Undone (La Fin de Sciecle) (CD single B-side – Parlophone CD DDS 17, 1993)

Disc 3: DVD

  • MTV Unplugged (rec. @ Sony Music Studios, New York City – 11/17/1993 and broadcast 12/15/1993 – previously unreleased)
  1. Hungry Like The Wolf
  2. Ordinary World
  3. Serious
  4. Girls on Film
  5. Rio
  6. Planet Earth
  7. Come Undone
  8. Too Much Information
  9. Skin Trade
  10. The Chauffeur
  11. Notorious
  • Extraordinary World (released as PMI VHS PMI TOVW3164, 1994)
  • Ordinary World (promo video)
  • Come Undone (promo video)
  • Too Much Information (promo video – previously unreleased on DVD)
  • Breath After Breath (promo video – previously unreleased on DVD)
  • Ordinary World (Top of the Pops – 1/14/1993)
  • Come Undone (Top of the Pops – 4/15/1993)

Digital Extra: No Ordinary Tour – Live in Los Angeles 1993 

  1. Planet Earth
  2. Hungry Like the Wolf
  3. Ordinary World
  4. Come Undone
  5. The Chauffeur
  6. Girls on Film
  7. Notorious
  8. Too Much Information
  9. Save a Prayer
  10. Rio

recorded live at Tower Records, Los Angeles – 5/15/1993. Tracks 3, 4 and 7 released on Capitol promo cassette 4XPRO-79235 (U.S.), 1993

Written by Mike Duquette

February 22, 2013 at 12:13

Posted in Duran Duran, DVD, Features, Reissues

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14 Responses

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  1. Love this album! When “Ordinary World” first hit it was a jaw-dropping moment… it looked like DD had reinvented itself at an almost Achtung Baby level. The song and video remain my favorite in the Duran Duran universe, just because they’re so… different. As for this deluxe edition, I would totally buy it, although I’m afraid EMI has no plans to continue the reissue series.

    Don

    February 22, 2013 at 12:24

  2. I got really excited when I glanced at the title, only to then spot the word “Theory”. Sadness! I couldn’t believe how good this album was when it first came out, and would love an expanded & remastered anniversary edition.

    vikerii

    February 22, 2013 at 14:16

  3. Has EMI stopped the reissue series — or was that the band themselves (to focus on their new album)?

    I would love for the series to continue. The first decade’s were amazing reminders of how strong a band they were, and the early nineties showed a Duran Duran having a renaissance just like recently.

    Brian from Canada

    February 22, 2013 at 17:43

  4. My friend Robbie did a piece on this album today for Idolator. Interviewed Nick Rhodes for it! http://idolator.com/7442724/duran-duran-the-wedding-anniversary-20-backtracking

    Stephen Sears (@xolondon)

    February 22, 2013 at 21:14

  5. For the Live DVD a full set from the “Dilate Your Mind” tour with the incredible stage set seen in the TMI video would be great, that tour apparently was not filmed, but Julien Temple must have shot much of it for the TMI video.

    Todd Franson

    February 23, 2013 at 07:28

  6. This reissue theory sounds great. I would add more demo material, though. Matter of Fact is a MUST, but there are many other demos that should be included.

    Fabiana (@FabyDD)

    February 25, 2013 at 13:10

  7. Dude Milton was not singing in spanish on “Breath after breath” but in portuguese ! And even if “Liberty” failed to post any hit singles, in my opinion “Serious” is one of the best DD songs, if not the best !!

    Stéphane

    February 25, 2013 at 13:17

  8. Correction for the post: Milton Nascimento is Brazilian, and his part of Breath After Breath is in Portuguese.

    Senhora Musa da Paz

    February 25, 2013 at 13:42

  9. Thanks to all who’ve pointed out that Milton Nascimiento is singing in Portuguese and not Spanish. (Apparently seven years of formal Spanish training has done NOTHING for me, haha) We’ve made the correction in the paragraph above!

    Mike Duquette

    February 25, 2013 at 13:47

  10. For the dvd, it could be an option as well to include the gig from Cologne June, 1993 that was pro-shot by German television for the ‘Rockpalast’ programme. Rockpalast have licensed and/or self-released quite a few of their recorded shows.

    Dennis

    February 25, 2013 at 14:07

  11. You’d really need to include the video for Femme Fatale, even though it wasn’t on Extraordinary World 🙂 I never really cared for the mix of the song on the album, but Ellen Von Unwerth’s black and white photography of the band interacting with amazingly beautiful drag queens is intoxicating.

    Matt Hargett (@syke)

    February 25, 2013 at 15:27

  12. As Matt said before me, the promo video for Femme Fatale would be an extremely awesome feature!

    Moviefreak

    February 25, 2013 at 15:53

  13. Great breakdown of Duran’s “second wind”.I guess with an output as rich as theirs during this period a track listing to cram everything into two discs is always going to be hard. Kudos for incorporating the EMI digital only items.

    I would argue that some of the further promo material be included as well – the Churban mixes of Come Undone and Too Much Information. There’s too many, however, to be completist (which is always a problem). Also, there 6 mixes of Love Voodoo that were featured on Obsession and Corruption – could choose one that didn’t feature on an official release for a nice bonus item (similar to the Justin Strauss mixes of “Big Thing” a couple of albums back).

    I look forward to Universal-EMI getting off their backsides and making a bit more money from us fans by releasing this.

    Richard John

    February 26, 2013 at 05:58

  14. Two versions of Falling Angel exist,
    the one on the UK 2CD-set is 4:35, it also appears on the French CDS for Femme Fatale,
    an alternate version, which clocks at 3:54 appears on the second US CDS for Come Undone.
    Two versions of Time for Temptation exist,
    the one on the UK 2CD-set is 4:09, it also appears on the US MC for Come Undone,
    an alternate version, which clocks at 3:46 appears on the Japanese Wedding Album.
    Two versions of Stop Dead exist,
    the one on the UK 2CD-set is 4:31, it also appears on the first US CDS for Come Undone and the French CDS for Femme Fatale,
    the version available on the Japanese Wedding Album is an edit clocking at 3:52.

    For Ordinary World we have:
    – 4:43 Single Version,
    – 4:28 Single Edit,
    – 4:31 AC Edit,
    – 5:05 Acoustic Version
    For Come Undone:
    – 7:23 Mix 1 Master, aka 12″ Mix – Comin’ Together,
    – 4:15 Edit,
    – 8:14 FGI Phumpin’ 12″,
    – 5:25 La fin de siècle, aka Mix 3 Master
    – 4:20 US Remix, aka Churban Mix,
    – 4:01 7″ Edit Alternate,
    – 5:26 Mix 2 Master,
    – 5:57 12″ Dub Mix,
    – 5:04 Dub Mix,
    – 4:47 Come Undub,
    – 5:00 TV Synth Strings,
    For Drowning Man:
    – 6:29 D:Ream 12″ Mix, aka 12″ A,
    – 6:45 Ambient Mix, aka Ambient Dub (D:Ream),
    – 6:29 Instrumental (D:Ream),
    – 6:28 Dub (D:Ream),
    For Too Much Information:
    – 4:14 David Richards 12″ Mix,
    – 6:18 Ben Chapman 12″ Mix, aka Ben Chapman 12″ Dub (tbc),
    – 5:43 Deptford Dub [faded early],
    – 3:59 Album Version Edit,
    – 3:31 Techno 7″ Remix, aka Trance 7″ Mix,
    – 6:12 Trance Mix 12″,
    – 6:14 Trance Instrumental 12″,
    – 6:06 Deptford Dub,
    – 4:15 Club 2 Mix,
    – 4:21 4:30 am Twirl Mix,
    – 4:16 Unplugged Mix,
    – 6:00 Ben Chapman Instrumental 12″ Mix,
    For None of the Above:
    – 4:39 Single Edit, aka Drizabone Mix,
    – 6:36 12″ Extended Mix, aka Drizabone 12″ Mix

    The three live songs recorded 15 May 1993 (Come Undone, Notorious and Hungry like the Wolf)…
    Also a live version of Ordinary World, recorded 11 March 1993, was available on a promotional CD single in Spain, but I’m not 100% sure about that…

    And even thought they were issued later (circa Thank You), you can add:
    Femme Fatale (Alternative Mix) 4:14,
    Love Voodoo (Remix, aka Dave Richards Extended Version) 7:36
    None of the Above (Remix, aka Drizabone Mix Edit) 4:07
    Ordinary World (Acoustic Version – live at Radio1 Simon Mayo Show) 5:16

    And on Strange Behaviour (1999)
    Love Voodoo (Sydney Street 12″ Mix) 4:40
    Too Much Information (12″ Jellybean Mix) 6:43

    Of course, there are some you can do without, especially edited versions, but I wanted to list them in order for you to spot if a real re-issue really uses the longest version available 🙂

    Please feel free to correct me if needed…

    Tof.

    P.S. : you still think 2 CDs would be enough 😉

    Megatof

    February 26, 2013 at 17:48


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